Date: Oct 24, 2013
Picture of Children at New Life Head Start in San Diego Working in Garden

Children at the Neighborhood House Association’s (NHA) New Life Head Start child development center in San Diego planted fall vegetables and learned the concept of the fall harvest in their own school garden thanks to a grant from the Western Growers Foundation (WGF). The October 23rd learning session received media coverage from San Diego’s KCBS Channel 8 while KUSI Channel 9 sent their weather reporter, Leslie Lopez, (Photo1; Photo2)for live morning coverage of the children working in their garden.

The garden supports innovative curriculum developed through the nationally recognized NHA Nutrition program. The center purchased fruit trees, vines, vegetables and they are now also growing kiwi, guava, banana, apples, persimmons and raspberries. The pre-school aged children have already transplanted from seeds, beans, corn, cucumber, lettuce, and pumpkin, and other vegetables.  Last month, the children learned about composting worms.

The urban garden at the New Life Head Start Center encourages good nutrition, environmental stewardship and agricultural awareness in San Diego County. This past summer, the WGF sent New Life school a $1,000 garden grant; a California School Garden Network, ”Gardens for Learning,” book; bookmarks and vegetable seeds to support the center’s nutrition gardening program.

This grant was made possible through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, administered through the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to WGF. Western Growers Foundation worked with the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD) to provide 100 garden grants of $1,000 each to eligible child care centers or preschools participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  This is the second grant cycle awarded to WGF to date.  The WGF has awarded 200 pre-schools and child care centers $1,000 each, totaling $200,000.

The Foundation’s mission is to plant and sustain a fruit and vegetable garden in every willing California and Arizona school to help children learn hands-on the lessons of planting food and the nutritional value of fresh produce. Western Growers Foundation has made grants to more than 700 schools to date.

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